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Just WHAT is Ketosis and why is it important?

noun: ketone; plural noun: ketones

An organic compound containing a carbonyl group =C=O bonded to two hydrocarbon groups, made by oxidizing secondary alcohols.
The simplest such compound is acetone.

In a very small nutshell, ketosis is a state of metabolism where the body has switched over from running on glucose to running on stored fat. It’s the way our body worked in our paleolithic state – which really hasn’t changed in 100,000 years. I asked Erica, our inhouse naturopath for some deeper detail.

Erica, is a woman who doesn’t waste words, so her notes below are er.. concise.

Ketogenesis:  The making of ketone bodies to be used as energy

What happens when we go into ketosis?

  • glucose levels plummet (due to low carbohydrate consumption)
  • our body needs another fuel source: you can no longer use sugar or glucose.
  • fat is released from stores (once in the bloodstream it is called fatty acids)
  • fat travels to liver
  • liver mitochondria convert fatty acids to Acetyl co A
  • Acetyl co A is released for use in Krebs cycle to produce energy (see diagram below)

If  too much Acetyl Co A is produced and it can’t all be used immediately in Krebs cycle due to insufficient levels of oxaloacetate, ketone bodies are formed (Acetylacetate, Beta hydroxybutyrate, acetone) by the breakdown of fats and ketogenic amino acids.

  • Acetyl Co A is converted to Acetylacetate
    • exported to peripheral tissues for use as an energy source
      • Conversion of Acetyl Co A to Acetylacatate uses up NAD stores
    • Acetylacetate is converted to beta hydroxybutyrate
      • exported to peripheral tissues for use as an energy source

When the ketone bodies get to the cell they are destined to supply energy to,  they are converted back into Acetyl Co A which goes directly into the Krebs cycle.

So…. Ketogenesis =  The creation of 3 ketone bodies – Acetylacetate, Beta hydroxybutyrate, acetone – by the breakdown of fats and ketogenic amino acids

These 3 Ketone Bodies (above) are produced mainly by the mitochondria of liver cells.

Now.. if you haven’t dozed off.. you may be asking why I asked Erica this. Well, Ketosis is the result of high saturated fat, low carb dieting. I have achieved Ketosis, and have benefited from this totally different way of metabolism.

But it’s a big ‘ask’ for a vegan or a vegetarian, especially given the best form of fat is animal fat. Yes, you can eat avocados but our Northern Hemisphere friends may not find this so easy.

The real ‘trigger’ though, is to reduce sugar intake sufficiently to get the body to revert to ketosis. In this sense, our alkaliene diet foods are great. They aren’t sweet, they have less sugar and only small amounts of complex carbs.


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